Beneﬁts and simple techniques of massaging babies Rigorous scientiﬁc studies show that just a few minutes a day of physical contact between a newborn and a parent increases the infant’s health and vigour, from body weight to bone mass. During skin-to-skin contact, a mother's chest naturally adjusts to the amount of warmth and comfort her baby requires, while touch and massage have been shown to signiﬁcantly reduce infant crying and distress. It has also been determined that, under accepted guidelines, infant massage can increase weight gain in premature babies. While there are numerous beneﬁts for baby during massage, the main beneﬁt is considered to be the bonding process that takes place between the two. Benefits for typical babies - All baby ’s systems are stimulated by massage. - Teaches baby to relax and become more calm and content. - Massage improves your baby 's blood circulation, digestion and inner equilibrium. Massage relieves tummy aches, winds and colic. - Touching your baby teaches him about communication. - Massage may relieve pain and the symptoms ofsome ailments. - Massage helps move lymph fluid around the body, boosting baby 's immune system. - Massage furthers the development of the digestive tract and the respiratory organs. - Research has shown that babies who are touched lovingly become less ill and cry less often than those who are not. - Massage can also improve your little one's sleep patterns - especially when it is done as part ofthe bed-and bath-time routine. Benefits for babies with special needs - Massage is great for general relaxation, promoting the relaxation oftense muscles. - lt decreases ﬁst-making and shoulder tension. - Massage improves eye contact and interaction with others. - lt encourages your baby 's hands to go to his midline more frequently for self-soothing. - It promotes weight gain. - Massage helps to regulate hypo- or hyper-sensitivity towards touch. - Massage can help him to accept touch and to associate it with something positive, especially in babies who have experienced traumatic hospital intervention. - Massage stimulates the muscle tone of hypotonic babies. - You can increase your baby 's length and depth ofsleep through massaging him. - lt also increases your little one’s alert state and promotes his ability to concentrate Benefits for parents - Infant massage promotes verbal and non-verbal communication with your child. - lt allows you to bond with your baby it helps you to relax and is fun. - Massage will also increase your conﬁdence when handling your baby. - During massage, you focus completely on your baby and you also interact with him. - Prolactin and oxytocin production increase — the hormones which further motherly instincts and wellbeing. Step one Always ask baby for permission to give him a massage!!! It is simply a sign of respect because it is his body and private space that you don't want to intrude on. Asking for permission also teaches baby the difference between good and bad touch, and that there should be respect when touched. Step two Massage after baby has been given a bath, when you would apply cream to his body. Make this a positive time and use slow, elongated movements and ﬁrm pressure to interact with your baby. Make eye contact and tell him you love him for 20 minutes or so. Even if you don‘t know exact techniques, any positive touch is better than no touch.
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